Ethan’s Karly Gustafson leads Dordt into Women’s NAIA National Tournament starting Tuesday

Defenders senior wants another shot at winning NAIA national title
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 12:00 AM CST
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SIOUX CENTER, IA (Dakota News Now) -Falling to Briar Cliff in the GPAC Championship won’t stop Dordt from making a deep run in the NAIA National Tournament starting tomorrow night on their home floor.

Our Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week Karly Gustafson of Ethan says that’s where senior leadership is needed the most. Cooper Seamer has her story.

Coming so close to a national title can bring a team together to try and finish the job next year. That’s exactly what Karly Gustafson and the Dordt Defenders have been trying to accomplish this season. “We’ve had a successful season so far, and so it’s been a lot of fun to get closer to the girls and just take every game as it comes.” Gustafson said.

The senior forward said she learned from some of Dordt’s best when she came to the university from Ethan High School. She currently has the sixth-best field goal percentage in the NAIA, but that’s all thanks to the ones that came before her. “I remember coming in as an underclassman, how the seniors took me under their wings and how they led. So I really just try to be a leader on and off the court this season, because I think that’s important to be both on and off.” Gustafson said.

And that growth both in skill and as a leader has shown. “Karly is just an absolute ambassador for our program. She is such a sweet soul and a sweet spirit, and that exudes into our team. She has a big-time calming presence with our team.” Dordt Head Coach Bill Harmsen said.

Even off the court, Gustafson said her time at Dordt has been an amazing experience, getting to bring high-level competition and growth to Sioux Center, Iowa. “Dordt is an amazing community. They support you both on and off the court, and that’s what I love. You see people in the community, and they ask you how you are, how’s the season going.” Gustafson said.

“The Dordt community, the Sioux Center community, and then of course our program, we’re the real benefactors of her just because she’s such a great kid.” Harmsen said.

Dordt will be a host team for the first and second rounds of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship, giving Gustafson and the Defenders a shot to make another run at the title. But even if they fall short, she hopes they still continue to improve as a team. “That’s kind of the goal, is to get better each and every game. We can’t take any practices or games off. We’ve just got to keep on the uphill climb.” Gustafson said.

To help leave the team in a great position for the future. Cooper Seamer, Dakota News Now.